Failure Leads to Eventual Success

failure

One of my favorite authors ever (I do have many), J. K Rowling, offers up numerous inspirational and wise quotes with the above being one of her best.

Too often people give up after they have a failed attempt at something. That attempt though was ‘trying’ which is a success in its’ own right.

Writers and illustrators know the word failure all too well. If they give up after a few rejections, then they are certainly NOT made out for this career. However, if they keep writing, keep illustrating, they will succeed eventually. This is just how the universe works. Trials and tribulations are part of growing and one does not quit growing or learning simply because of age.

My best pitch to you is this:

The road to success is to incur failure on your way.

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Fact or Fiction Picture Books?

“Wait! Stop the presses!”

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No do not stop the presses. Keep them going. Picture Books come in both fiction and non-fiction but non-fiction gets the rap for being too educational or boring. Look at this cover, how can you call this boring? Shennen Bersani illustrated both the book above “ACHOO! Why Pollen Counts’ and this book here, ‘Animal Partners’. animal partners

Years ago, non-fiction picture books (PB’s) carried the stigmatism of being meant only for educational resources.

It is true, they are often used for educational resources but that makes them even more interesting in their own right. These books get left behind with their fiction counterparts eating up all of the discovery and hoopla. Not fair to the non-fiction book. The book below, ‘Animal Teachers’ does not look like a non-fiction PB but it is and it has a lovely story to go with it. It is written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Katy Hudson.

animal teachers

I checked out several non-fiction PB’s recently based on the subject matter I was interested in and lo and behold, was I pleased with my selections. Throughout this article I have added some of my favorite non-fiction PB’s. Their covers drew me in, the writing and illustrations kept me intrigued.

I also checked out several fiction PB’s (I write fiction picture books so I try to keep up with what’s available to children) to compare. However, this post is about the forgotten non-fiction PB so I am not showcasing fiction PB’s here.

My findings are this; I was just as entertained by the non-fiction PB’s as I was the fiction PB’s. The illustrations were top-notch and enticing  in both categories. The text was intriguing and illustrious and entertaining in both as well. The only difference between the two for me was that the fiction books let me use my imagination right away and the non-fiction books gave me facts that entertained me which did spark my imagination after I devoured the facts.

I really enjoy reading about people so I recommend these:

my brother martin

miss moore

In summary, the two book types feed off of each other and the non-fiction PB’s are just as entertaining as their fiction counterparts. I still judged both types of books by their covers and in doing so, I was delighted with both kinds of books. I also happen to love trees  so this 2009 book by Jason Chin called to me.

redwoods

The next time you take your kids to the library, make sure you hit the non-fiction books section, go to the subject choice and pick out a picture book.

Maybe you would like them to learn about manners; then this is the book for you.whoopi

From there, let your kids’ imaginations run with what they learn. It makes for great dinner conversation about what they read. Then maybe at bedtime, create a fiction story using the facts you learned from the non-fiction books.

Here are a few more interesting books I found that may interest your children.

thomas jefferson

moon book down down down dolphins listenastronautastro where once rock

So many subjects to read about such as animals, habitats, people, earth, the moon; with all of these to choose from, you should have a good summer reading.

Get to it, visit your library, hit the non-fiction sections and get ready for a few rainy days. But most of all, have fun with your kids.

jiggery-pokery – Word of the Day

jiggery-pokery – noun, Chiefly British 

[jiguh-ree-poh-kuh-ree]

1.   trickery, hocus-pocus; fraud; humbug.

2.   sly, underhanded action.

3.   manipulation:

“Bugger! I fell for your jiggery-pokery again, you manipulating charlatan,” Herb said to Madame Venus, laughing along with her.

“Tis a sleight of hand on my part and a slow eye on yours that I always get away with it to,” she replied heartily.

moonbow- Word of the Day

moonbow – noun

[moon-boh]

1.   a rainbow caused by the refraction and reflection of light from the moon.

Moonbows are most often and easiest seen over falls such as Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National park and Cumberland Falls in Kentucky to name a couple of places.

The naked eyes see them as a white arc whereas long exposure photography captures the color in it beautifully.

Therefore, if you want to capture a moonbow, take a road trip to a place with waterfalls on a clear night and hope for the best.

Happy hunting!

agog- Word of the Day… (a mystery story)

agog – adjective, adverb

[uhgog]

adjective

1.   highly excited by eagerness, curiosity, anticipation, etc.

adverb

2.   in a state of eager desire; excitedly.

Three sidewalk cracks before Meleah and Emma were in front of Meleah’s house, a squeal escaped from Meleah’s mouth.

“Oooooo, what is that?” Meleah said agog, when she saw the large brown package by her front door.

The two girls ran up on Meleah’s front porch to investigate. In large black typed print was: MELEAH HORTON followed by her address. No return address or label just her name and address.

“Did you order something?” her best friend asked.

“Nope. I think my mom would kill me if I used her credit card to order something.” Meleah replied. “Help me carry it inside Emma.”

Once Meleah unlocked her door, Emma helped her carry the large box inside. The box was neither heavy nor light; right in between. They set the box in the kitchen. Meleah poured a glass of milk for her and Emma and then counted out five Oreo cookies for each of them.

Meleah stared at the box.

Too excited to wait any longer Emma blurted out, “Just open it!” Oreo crumbs spewing from her mouth. She blushed and apologized, “Sorry.”

“I don’t know if I should. My birthday is still two months away but if My parents or big brother ordered something special for my birthday but it came way too early?” Meleah agonized.

Emma swallowed her cookie then drank her milk. “Why would they order something for you for your birthday knowing it’s two months away and knowing that you’re the first one home?”

Meleah thought about it. That made sense. “True. But, what if they wanted me to wait until they got home from work to open it so they could see my face?”

Emma had to admit that that also made sense.

Meleah finished her Oreos, drank her milk and sighed. “Well, I guess I have to wait until they get home. Want to stay over night? You could call your mom and ask if that’s alright. It is Friday. Then we could do our homework before everyone got home and then you would be here to watch me open it.”

Emma finished her Oreos and milk too then called her mom.

Permission granted, the girls quickly got to work on their homework deciding to get Emma’s things after Meleah’s parents came home.

Two hours passed when the back door opened.

“MOM, DAD? Who’s home?” Meleah yelled.

Both of her parents walked into the living room where Meleah and Emma were doing their homework.

“You don’t have to shout Meleah, we’re right here,” her father said.

Looking up Meleah was confused. “How did you two get in here so fast? I just heard the back door open.”

Her mother answered this time, “We saw the large box with your name on it and came right in here to find you. Did you order something?” A suspicious look was sitting on her face.

“Yeah, what’s with the big box?” her father asked, right eyebrow raised.

Meleah squinted her eyes at them both.

“I didn’t order anything. Is this an early birthday present from you two?”

Her parents looked at each other. They returned their gaze to Meleah and slowly shook their heads.

Her mother shrugged. “I can’t imagine your brother ordered something for you since he’s saving his money to buy a car for school.”

Chiming in her father said, “You would think that whoever sent it would have put their name and return address on the box.”

The back door shut with a thud.

“Not if they wanted to surprise me,” Meleah stated.

“Who wants to surprise you squirt?” Meleah’s brother, John shouted from the kitchen. “And, what’s in this big box out here?”

Back in the kitchen, Meleah, her parents and Emma at the same time said, “We don’t know.” They all gathered around the big box.

“Weird there’s not return address on it. Maybe we should call the police. There’s no return address, no delivery information on it, no postage stamp, nothing.” John stated.

Meleah bent closer to the box, listening. “I don’t hear ticking.”

Being the voice of reason her mother said, “Why would anyone send something dangerous to a little girl?”

“I’m not that little Mom. I am eleven you know.” Meleah retorted.

“Not for another two months Meleah,” Emma piped in.

“Close enough,” Meleah said sticking her tongue out at her.

Emma laughed. “Closer to nine I think.”

Meleah turned her attention back to the box. She was a little worried about what John said.

“Is this a trick John? Did you have one of your gross friends drop off the box here?” she asked suspiciously.

“Nope, I swear it on our dog’s life.” John said.

“JOHN! Jackson has been dead for over a year. Now I know you’re lying.” Meleah cried.

“Nope, even if he were alive I would swear it. Honest.” said John.

Her parents picked up the box, carried it out the back door and onto the driveway. Meleah, Emma and John followed.

“Meleah, you can open the box out here. I’ll cut the tape and you can open it the rest of the way.” her father offered.

Carefully, he cut the tape down the center and pulled just enough to loosen the sides for Meleah to finish opening.

Meleah tugged on the flaps of the box until they gave way. She bent the flaps back. Emma held them down. Meleah pulled the bunched paper out of the box and inside was another big box but this one was wooden, black with a shiny and black lacquered lid. She grabbed the shiny box from two sides and tried to lift it out but the box fell back inside the outer box.

John and her father lifted it out for her. Upon seeing the box in the light, everyone’s eyes were agog.

“It’s not heavy but it’s not light either. I wonder what’s inside?” her father said.

Meleah found the copper plated latch on the front of the box. She turned the knob, opened the latch and lifted the lid.

Inside the box was lined with rich, velvety soft, blue fabric. Meleah ran her hands delicately over the blue fabric. “Oh, it’s so soft.” she whispered.

She felt around the box looking for something else within. Nothing was there.

“Mom, can you please help me? There might be a hidden seam somewhere or opening.” she asked.

Together, they searched the box, finding nothing still. Meanwhile, John, her father and Emma were searching the outer box. They too found nothing.

“I guess you have a mystery box Meleah. It looks old but well kept. What a crazy gift.” said her father after looking over the shiny box.

“You might as well keep it in your room. You could probably put all of your stuffed animals in it for safe storage, it’s so big.” he continued.

“Dad, I’ll be eleven in two months, I don’t have my stuffed animals anymore.” she said elbowing Emma to keep quiet.

Emma stifled a giggle.

Meleah and Emma carried the shiny box into Meleah’s room placing it on the floor by her closet.

“I’m not putting anything in this box. It’s too pretty inside.” Meleah stated.

“I think you should look the box up online and see if you find anything out about it.” said Emma.

“Let’s look the box over closely and see if there is any writing on it.” Meleah said.

Together the girls turned the box over and searched for any indication of where it came from. On the bottom of the box, was a faint inscription in the corner. The box being black, made it hard to read so Meleah grabbed a sheet of notebook paper, placed it across the inscription, rubbed pencil lead across it to reveal the letters For: H H in swirled cursive letters. Also was a curved shepherds hook symbol.

Meleah couldn’t think of one single person she knew with the initials HH. “Let’s finish our homework Emma and then we can work on cracking this mystery.”

Having no luck with the internet that night, the girls went to bed.

The next morning, the mail came early and in it was a letter addressed to MELEAH HORTON in big black letters.

to be continued…

If you want me to continue this story, please leave a comment for this story. Thank you!

Not a Whale Tale for Word of the Day

Yesterday was a perfect day for pan fishing yet not for actually catching fish. I spent the day with my husband fishing which was a much needed day of relaxation for us both. Therefore, I spent very little time on my computer and even less time writing.

Yesterdays Word of the Day was gainsay.

[geyn-sey, geyn-sey]

verb

1.   to deny, dispute, or contradict.

2.   to speak or act against; oppose.

gainsay

Today’s Word of the Day is middling. adjective, adverb, noun

[mid-ling]

adjective

1.   medium, moderate, oraverage in size, quantity, or quality.

2.   mediocre; ordinary; commonplace; pedestrian.

3.   Older Use. in fairly good health.

adverb

4.   moderately; fairly.

noun

5.   middlings, any of various products or commodities of intermediate quality, grade, size, etc., as the coarser particles of          ground wheat mingled with bran.

6.   Often, middlings, also called middling meat. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. salt pork or smoked side meat.

middling

Back to relaxing yesterday and our fishing escapade.

Despite Mother Nature’s gainsay with us over the weather and whether we should go out in the morning to fish, we followed the weather man’s advice. The weather report said rain, rain, rain in the morning, clearing off by two in the afternoon. We abided making it to the lake by 2 to start fishing.

Now the weather man is not always a great forecaster of the actual weather of where you want to be. There is something to be said for listening to your gut instinct since gut instinct is nature’s way of leading you on the right path. For the most part, following my husband’s gut instinct will never lead me astray. His gut said “fish in the morning”, his brain said, “listen to the weather man.”

We situated ourselves in the middling area of the lake where numerous other boats were anchored. Fishing lines went out on every side of our boat the same as the surrounding boats had. Those boats were there when we arrived so we figured they knew the hot spot.

An hour goes by, a few snags, but no bites. Careful sly watching of the other boats spied two fish being caught but not more.

” I think we should move in to the shore closer,” I tell my husband. He agrees and we move closer.

Another hour goes by, no snags, no bites.

“I think we should move to the other side of the lake by the island and fish off of the shelf,” my husband suggests.

I agree. My spot did not come up with anything.

We moved to the other side of the lake by the island where a couple of other boats were situated.

“This looks good,” he said.

The weeds were pretty tall and in five feet of water, the bluegills were surely hiding there ready to bite on my hooked redworm. I dangled my fishing pole out a few feet away where I saw flashes of silver, I figured my pole would be bent over any second. I waited.

And waited.

Half an hour went by and again, a few snags, but no bites.

“We need to get closer to the shelf of the island,” he said. We pulled up anchor and drifted in a few feet. This definitely looked better than the last area even at just a few feet in.

“I think I got one!” he exclaimed.

“Yay! I’m casting by your line then,” I responded.

He reeled in and sure enough, he caught a long, heavy strand of seaweed.

He smiled at me.

“Great catch.” I smirked playfully. I still haven’t even caught seaweed.

We fished for another hour, but caught nothing.

“You know, we should have come up this morning. I think the front that moved through while we debated, scared the fish off.” he told me.

“I believe you’re right.” I agreed. “Let’s head home. You can bring the kids out fishing tomorrow or Friday.”

“Good idea.” he said.

As we loaded the boat onto the trailer, two boats from our first middling spot, docked at the landing. We watched them unload their haul of bluegills and crappies into the fish house. They had quite a slew.

We overheard them saying they should have called it quits at one when the fish quit biting since they had close to their limit from fishing morning to noon. My husband looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and smiled.

Yup, we should have listened to his gut, following Mother Nature’s lead.. The gainsaying weatherman got the best of us.

Live and learn.

Pineapple Rhubarb Crisp: a taste bud delight

My husband and I crave rhubarb when it comes up each spring. It is a favorite spring vegetable like asparagus (although asparagus would not be tasty in a pie in my opinion). With a large rhubarb patch, we have plenty to last us through the summer season and even into fall if I freeze some of it.

Usually I make the traditional strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp. Occasionally I make a straight rhubarb pie if I crave a tarter dessert. I have also made rhubarb raspberry pie and glazed rhubarb cake. Rhubarb quick bread is also a treat.

This year though I decided to change it up a bit. My favorite fruit is fresh pineapple and with it’s sweetness, I figured if I combined it with rhubarb for a pineapple rhubarb crisp, I would be able to cut down on the sugar which I did. The end result is my favorite rhubarb dessert to date; a taste bud delight. DELICIOUS!

Below is my recipe for it, so be adventurous, try it out.

5 cups chopped rhubarb

3 cups chopped fresh pineapple

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl, tossing the rhubarb and pineapple to coat it with the sugar and cinnamon.

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Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with coconut oil. Spread the rhubarb, pineapple mixture evenly in the pan.

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In a medium size mixing bowl combine the following until the oats are well coated.

2 1/2 cups oats

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 cup chia seeds

1/8 cup flaxseed meal

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup melted butter

Spread this mixture evenly over the rhubarb/pineapple. Dot the top of the oats with 6 pads of butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the oats are browned.

Let sit for 20 minutes before eating. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. When completely cooled, cover and refrigerate.

That’s it. Enjoy. As you can see from the top photo, I enjoyed my first bite out of the pan.  🙂

quidnunc – Word of the Day

quidnunc – noun

[kwid-nuhngk]

1.    a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.

I guess the shortest word for social media junkies could be quidnuncs. Of course, this would mean that all people who use social media use it just to learn the latest news and gossip.

Admittedly, I like to be aware of the latest going on in the world but usually not about celebrities, etc. I prefer to be caught up with world events, local events and people I find interesting in general, many of whom are not near celebrity status.

I find that better examples of quidnuncs would be none other than the nosy characters on beloved television shows. Probable is the fact that in today’s world these characters would be social media junkies, aka. quidnuncs, accessing the most up to date gossip.

Mrs. Kravitz, the Stevens’ neighbor on ‘Bewtiched’ is my favorite busybody character ever on television. I took great enjoyment out of watching Samantha mess with her. Other well known quidnuncs include: housekeeper,Alice from ‘The Brady Bunch’; mother, Marie Barone on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’; Mr. and Mrs. Howell on ‘Gilligan’s Island’; Aunt Bea on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and Fred Sanford on ‘Sanford and Sons’.

They all gave us a reason to hear the latest gossip on each show. We cared what they thought even if just a smidge.

What a great word for Word of the Day from http://www.dictionary.com. Brought back fond memories of beloved television shows.

Conversation starter: Who is your favorite quidnunc in a movie or on television?

schism – Word of the Day

schism – noun

[sizuh m, skiz-]

1.   division or disunion, especially into mutually opposed parties.

2.   the parties so formed.

3.   Ecclesiastical.

a.   a formal division within, or separation from, a church or religious body over some doctrinal difference.

b.   the state of a sect or body formed by such division.

c.   the offense of causing or seeking to cause such a division.

A perfect example of a schism would be the riff between the Jets and the Sharks in ‘West Side Story’.

Another great example is the constant  schism in Congress between the Democrats and the Republicans. If those two parties decided to work together for the common good of all the people, then imagine how great our country would be again.

tatterdemalion – #wordoftheday

tatterdemalion – nounadjective

[tat-er-di-meyl-yuh n, –mal-]

noun

1.   a person in tattered clothing; a shabby person.

adjective

2.   ragged; unkempt or dilapidated.

‘Life was rough on Charlie. First, she had a boys name; not short for Charlemagne or Charlene, just Charlie. Second, with no family to claim her, she bounced in and out of foster homes, each one worse than the next. Third, since she ditched the last one, she was alone in the streets fending for herself; a tatterdemalion is what the wealthy people called her when walking past. She wasn’t sure what that meant but guessing from her dirty, shabby clothes, she knew it was not a compliment.’

This could be the start of great new novel; the opening page.

Use this word in your next writing if possible or in conversation and see what sparks. New vocabulary is always fun.

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting

Fun with words, creatively. For all ages.

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